I strongly believe that continuous improvement is more important than quality control. The reason behind my thinking is that quality control is an element of continuous improvement for the following reason. Quality control only identifies rejects. Its only purpose is to inspect items or services to determine whether or not a set criteria, or standard, is met; and decide whether the item will be fixed, rejected, or passed.
Continuous improvement is the ability to constantly change and adapt by getting and using information, and by evaluating changes to make sure they are effective. CI efforts must focus on how things get done. It must examine the contributing processes to determine how to improve the overall results.
Now-a-days, quality control is not just done at the end of a manufacturing process. It must be done at every stage, or part, of the full process. Quality commitment is essential for businesses to thrive; forcing the adoption of quality standards by many organizations such as ISO 9000, Six Sigma, TQM (Total Quality Management), Lean, and PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle.
All these methods, while all very different, emphasize on employee involvement and teamwork; measuring and systematizing processes; and reducing variation, defects and cycle times.
American Society for Quality, (2006). Continuous Improvement. Retrieved Apr. 20, 2006, from http://www.asq.org/learn-about-quality/continuous-improvement/overview/overview.html.
American Society for Quality, (2006). Quality Assurance & Quality Control. Retrieved Apr. 20, 2006, from http://www.asq.org/learn-about-quality/quality-assurance-quality-control/overview/overview.html.
Robbins, S., & Coulter, M. (2005). Management. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
ToolPack Consulting, (2006). Continuous Improvement. Retrieved Apr. 20, 2006, from http://www.toolpack.com/continuous-improvement.html.
The Productivity Portal, (2006). Continuous Improvement. Retrieved Apr. 20, 2006, from http://www.lmu.ac.uk/lis/imgtserv/tools/contimp.htm.